Parents of Clemson student found dead: There is more to the story

Published: Nov. 19, 2014 at 6:47 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2014 at 6:47 PM EST
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CLEMSON, SC (WYFF) - For the first time we're hearing from a grieving Upstate mother and father. Their son, Tucker Hipps, was the Clemson University student who fell to his death from a bridge Sept. 22.

Investigators said a fraternity brother reported him missing after he did not show up for breakfast.

His body was found later that day in Lake Hartwell.

Cindy and Gary Hipps said they didn't just lose their only son, they lost years of making new memories.

"We were looking forward to him and Katie getting married and having grandchildren. We even talked about that -- we talked about one day me being a grandmother. He even said to me, 'Mom you are going to be a great grandma. You will spoil them to death,'" said Cindy Hipps.

Through an outpouring of love and support, the Hipps found strength, but there are days of utter weakness

"You can be moving through your day and a brick of reality hits you in the head and reminds you you will not see your child anymore in this life," said Gary Hipps.

The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is still investigating what happened before Tucker was reported missing. Investigators have said they do not believe hazing was involved in his death.

"There is more to the story then what has been told. We do believe there are things that need to be fixed that are broken with fraternity pledging processes. No parent should send their child off to college and have to fear for their life," said Gary Hipps.

"I think there are elements of the truth that are not yet known and those are answers we're looking for," said Cindy.

They said no parent should ever have to get the phone call they got that late summer day.

"It was a very long drive to Clemson that day, a very long driving knowing that it wasn't going to be good when we got there. Hardest day of my life," said Gary Hipps.

The Hipps said they'll learn to live without their son, but they have faith.

"Just to know one day we'll see Tucker again. Even in our darkness something good will come out of it. So that what keeps us moving forward -- the hope that one day we will find out what that's supposed to be," said Cindy Hipps.

The Hipps are asking anyone with information about that day to call Crime Stoppers at 888-Crime-SC.

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